Feb 13, 2013, 4:37 PM EST
In December of 2011, the NHL announced a “radical” realignment plan that split the league into four “conferences” as opposed to its current structure of two conferences with three divisions in each.
The NHLPA eventually scuttled the plan, citing concerns over travel as well as the fairness of the proposed playoff qualification system.
Now, realignment is back on the table (this time, the league and union are working out the details together), and according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly, the NHL is hoping to put everything to bed in two weeks or so (via Yahoo!’s Nick Cotsonika).
But Daly says this realignment plan will be slightly different than the last one, which featured the following four conferences:
—- New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Washington and Carolina
—- Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay
—- Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg
—- Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado
Daly wouldn’t say what’s changed — there will still be four conferences, so we can only assume some teams have been shuffled around.
Did it make sense having the two Florida teams playing in the same division as Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Buffalo instead of being grouped with other southern teams like Carolina, Nashville and/or Dallas?
What about keeping Winnipeg out of a division with natural (and old Smythe Division) rivals Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver?
That’s for the league and players to decide.
Under the NHL’s plan, the top four teams in each conference would make the postseason. The first two rounds of the playoffs would be played within the conference (1 v 4, 2 v 3) with the four surviving teams advancing to the semi-finals.
Which is to say, postseason familiarity is going to create some serious rivalries, a la the once-great Battle of Alberta. So while travel distance should obviously be a factor in determining who goes where, other factors like history and the team’s country will likely be considered as well.
If all goes well, NHL owners should vote on new realignment plan week of Feb. 25th
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 13, 2013
Dec 13, 2013, 2:02 AM EST
All three San Jose goals came on the power play.
Dec 13, 2013, 1:30 AM EST
But they snapped that 10-game losing streak the other day.
Dec 13, 2013, 1:03 AM EST
His inconsistent season continues.
Dec 13, 2013, 12:36 AM EST
Quite the funk they’re in when it comes to this aspect.
Dec 13, 2013, 12:17 AM EST
Bet these guys were tired after.
Dec 12, 2013, 11:57 PM EST
What a day in Calgary. More Brian Burke!
Dec 12, 2013, 11:34 PM EST
Yeah, these are tough times.
Dec 12, 2013, 11:10 PM EST
Didn’t think too highly of it.
Dec 12, 2013, 10:45 PM EST
But two points eluded them.
Dec 12, 2013, 10:23 PM EST
Dec 12, 2013, 10:06 PM EST
And it’s getting worse in New York.
Dec 12, 2013, 9:17 PM EST
Nice moment in Philly.
Dec 12, 2013, 9:04 PM EST
Montreal defenseman’s night ends early.
Dec 12, 2013, 8:52 PM EST
Jonathan Bernier takes over.
Dec 12, 2013, 8:15 PM EST
Tough time to be a Columbus goalie.
Dec 12, 2013, 7:39 PM EST
Cam Talbot was cheered upon entering the game.
Dec 12, 2013, 7:10 PM EST
No word on the severity of TT’s injury.
Dec 12, 2013, 6:27 PM EST
He’s been out with a lower-body injury.
Dec 12, 2013, 5:17 PM EST
Oilers coach wants to use “speed” and “smarts” tonight.
Dec 12, 2013, 4:40 PM EST
Oh, and Anders Nilsson sent back to AHL.
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- Flames fire GM Jay Feaster 36
- Video: Projected rise in salary cap could have some players ‘licking their lips’ 19
- Discuss: Blackhawks score big on Rivalry Night on NBCSN 37
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- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (156)
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- Orpik suffers from concussion, including memory loss (118)